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For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct anonymous, in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Each year AAA reviews nearly 28,000 hotels – Just 0.4 percent make the AAA Five Diamond list and  The American Club Resort in Kohler, Wisconsin! 

Just 5.9 percent of the nearly 28,000 hotels Approved by AAA make the Four Diamond list. The properties below were named Four Diamond Hotels:

AAA Diamond Ratings for hotels represent a combination of the overall quality, range of facilities and level of services offered by the property. The descriptive ratings are assigned exclusively to properties that meet and uphold AAA’s rigorous Approval standards.

Source - http://newsroom.aaa.com/diamond-ratings/

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WHAT’S YOUR PICK?

We’ve got 12 exceptional finalists for you to choose from in the 2013 Wisconsin Lodging Directory Cover Contest! Voting is open until 11:59 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, May 8, and the contest winner will be announced here at the Stay in Wisconsin blog on Friday, May 11!

The Wisconsin Lodging Directory is published annually by the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Directory and distributed to hundreds of locations throughout the Midwest. More than 200,000 copies were printed for 2012 and are available at locations like community libraries, Wisconsin State Fair, local chambers of commerce, convention and visitor bureaus and more! The directory features more than 700 hotels, motels, resorts, inns, bed & breakfasts, condos and vacation homes in Wisconsin, complete with contact info, amenities listings, web sites and property photos. Need a copy of the 2012 Wisconsin Lodging Directory? Get one here.

View the 2013 contest finalists and cast your vote here!

Please only vote once for one cover. A valid e-mail address must be entered for your vote to be counted (don’t worry, WH&LA does not sell or otherwise distribute e-mail addresses!) and any duplicate votes from one e-mail address or votes for multiple covers from the same address will be disqualified. Employees and owners of finalist properties are not eligible to vote.

Finalist properties include:

The Abbey Resort & Avani Spa, Fontana
Best Western PLUS Milwaukee Airport Hotel & Conference Center
Eagle Harbor Inn, Door County – Ephraim
The Geneva Inn, Lake Geneva
Heidel House Resort & Spa, Green Lake
Hilton Milwaukee City Center
Holiday Music Motel, Door County – Sturgeon Bay
Newport Resort, Door County – Egg Harbor
The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake
Pheasant Park Resort, Door County – Sister Bay
Radisson Hotel La Crosse
Sundara Inn & Spa, Wisconsin Dells

Take your pick, leave your vote and tell your friends!

 

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Another hot & steamy day here in southeast Wisconsin & what better way to cool down than with an ice cold beer or crisp glass of wine?  Check out some of these upcoming beer & wine fests & festivals and experience Wisconsin by-the-glass!

August 13-14
Brews, Brats & Bands – Point Brewery, Stevens Point

August 20-22
Cedar Creek Winery’s 20th Anniversary – Cedarburg

September 4
Milwauktoberfest – Milwaukee

September 10-11
Lake Geneva Wine Festival – Lake Geneva

September 11
8th Annual Thirsty Troll Beer Fest – Mount Horeb
Fall Harvest Fest – Parallel 44 Winery, Kewaunee

September 11-12
5th Annual Fall Festival – Autumn Harvest Winery, Chippewa Falls

September 12-18
Milwaukee Beer Week – Milwaukee

September 17-18
Great Lakes Brewfest – Racine

September 18-19
Annual Wine & Harvest Festival – Cedar Creek Winery, Cedarburg
Fall Harvest Festival – Chateau St. Croix, St. Croix Falls
Wet Whistle Wine Fest – Von Stiehl Winery, Algoma

September 24-October 2
Oktoberfest 2010 – La Crosse

October 1
Taste of Wine & Beer – DePere

October 2
Lincoln Lager BarleyFest – Merrill

Mark your calendars & raise a toast to Wisconsin this fall! (As always, please enjoy responsibly.) What are your favorite beer or wine tours in Wisconsin? Are there any fests we missed on the list?

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Why Wisconsin festivals, of course!

You see, we don’t just hold music fests or art fairs, we’ll put together whole celebrations centered around food, too! Check out the list below for some upcoming (delicious) fun:

JULY 24th-
Summer Harvest Cherry Fest, Fish Creek:
Free wine & beer tasting (yeah!), cherry pit spitting contest, free winery tours, face painting and more.

Blueberry Blitz, Merrill:
Includes hay rides, goat cart racing (really!), live music & more. Benefits Randlin Home’s Homeless Veterans.

Pig in the Park, Elkhart Lake:
Pig & corn roast, live music and more in Marsh Park.

Platteville’s Hometown Hog Roast:
Featuring “fun, music, games, raffles, pig races, and- of course- food!

Grandad’s Pancake Festival & Grass Volleyball Tournament, La Crosse:
The name says it all – start the day with a Pancake Breakfast and then participate in one of 3 categories of volleyball (advance registration of your team required).

JULY 24th & 25th-
Iron River Lions Blueberry Festival, Iron River:
Includes Queen & Princess coronations on Saturday evening and pie eating contest Sunday, yum!

JULY 25th-
Stanley Lions Watermelon Festival, Stanley:
Kids games, car show, flea market and FREE watermelon (while supplies last)!

COMING UP-
August 5th-7th: Brat Days, Sheboygan:
Entertainment for all ages including live music and -of course- a brat eating contest.

August 7th: Cookie Daze, Ripon:
Where else can your kids build their own rocket and play cookie BINGO? Lots of family fun including a cookie DROP.

BONUS: Not sure how I feel about this one, but… there’s also Hog WRESTLING in Twin Bridge on July 24th.

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We regularly blog about great places to stay in Wisconsin, but don’t just take our word for it! See what others around the web are saying about our members…

Midwest Living lists their pick of 17 Fabulous One-Stop Weekend Escapes here. Four of the 17 are here in Wisconsin – the most from any of the ten states on the list!

Canoe Bay
, Chetek:
Hmmmmmm……. Adults only? Secluded in Wisconsin’s North Woods? “Fresh flowers, baked goods and steaming coffee discreetly delivered each morning“? Canoe Bay/ Relais & Chateaux definitely earns the title of Fabulous!

Delafield Hotel, Delafield:
Located in charming Delafield, less than a half hour west of Milwaukee and only 50 minutes east of Madison, The Delafield Hotel‘s “luxury lodging provides a great base for a weekend getaway”.

Old Rittenhouse Inn, Bayfield:
When your travels take you to Wisconsin’s far north, be sure to check out the “luxurious rooms and suites with up-to-date amenities (minus TVs)” at the Old Rittenhouse Inn.

Sundara Inn & Spa, Wisconsin Dells:
The Midwest Living feature starts with these words: “The real world can’t get past the front gate of Sundara Inn and Spa.” Almost sounds like a challenge until you arrive on the Sundara property and discover the peace in their pine forest…

Also making headlines as a “Mountain Hideaway Right in the Midwest”, is the Percheron Paradise Romantic Hideaway near La Crosse. Describing their chalet  as “immaculately clean and beautifully decorated with a nearly complete wrap around deck and extras such as sparkling apple juice, wine glasses and a candle that were ours to keep“, the author also shares ideas on things to do in the area – if you can be tempted to leave the 200+ acres of quiet seclusion!  Click on over and read the full article here.

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Congratulations to Jane and Chris, winners of a free night of lodging at The Ashbrooke in Door County and the Ramada Plaza Hotel & Waterpark in Green Bay!

We’ve got three giveaways for today, plus a huge last day of FIVE amazing getaways for Friday, including a $250 Best Western gift card!

Here’s today’s challenge: what was the best Wisconsin meal you ever had? Was it breakfast at a quaint B&B? Steak dinner in the city? Did you make it yourself? What made the meal so memorable?

Three winners will be picked at random to win one of three overnights: Spring Brook Vacation Rentals in Wisconsin Dells, a couples-only retreatat Percheron Paradise Romantic Hideaway in La Crosse or a stay at the Landing Resort in Door County.

This contest will close TODAY at 4:30 pm CDT, so comment early and tell your friends!

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By Pamela Haase
Whenever a holiday rolls around there are always many fun, safe family events around Wisconsin and – if you celebrate it – Easter is no exception! Check out the following:

Wednesday, March 31 – Saturday, April 3
Teacher Place & Parent Resources, Burlington
Activities: Five different & unusual techniques to dye eggs: “classic, modern & awesome styles!” See website for times available.
Cost: $3 per person, children must be accompanied by a paying adult

Friday, April 2 – Saturday, April 3
Apple Holler Restaurant & Playhouse, Sturtevant
Big Bunny Weekend Celebration
Activities: Storytelling, hay wagon ride through the orchard, games, prizes, Big Bunny visit, pony rides, egg hunt
Cost: $7 per person

Friday, April 2nd
Branded at The Iron Horse Hotel, Milwaukee
Adults Only Easter Egg Hunt
Activities: Search for eggs filled with grown-up prizes such as free drinks, also serving Pink Peep Martinis all weekend

Saturday, April 3rd
Milwaukee County Zoo
Egg Day
Activities: Scavenger hunt, face painting, arts & crafts, Easter parade

Children’s Museum of La Crosse
Easter EGG-Stravaganza
Activities: “Egg hunt, games, crafts and more. Pre-registration and pre-payment required.
Cost: $5 per child (members), $7 per child (non-members) Adults free

Easter Hat Parade 2010, Madison
Activities: Hat-making workshop, parade for kids & adults around the Capitol Square & live baby animals
Workshop begins at 10:00 am, parade at Noon

Boulder Junction Winter Park
Easter Cache Hunt
Activities: Introduction to geocaching, hunt for 12 caches, complimentary lunch to participants, wagon rides, prizes

Saturday, April 3 – Sunday, April 4
The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake
Activities: Meet the Easter Bunny, egg hunt and workshops, Sunday brunch buffet

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September 1 may signal the end of summer vacation for most school kids, but don’t fret!  There’s still plenty of summer fun to be had for weeks to come!  If you’re a fan of live music, fabulous food, or amazing arts & crafts, check out the opportunities to explore Wisconsin below:
GRFF.image34th Annual Great River Folk Fest, La Crosse, August 28-30
Where else can you find workshops for folk singer-songwriters, learn basket weaving then catch a Hmong Dance presentation and Oktoberfest Polka?  Why the Great River Folk Fest of course!

BalloonRally.imageBalloon Rally & Music Festival, Wisconsin Rapids, August 28-30
*  Opening night Balloon set-up & glow?  Check
*  Live music? Yep
*  Dunk tank & face painting for the kids? Of course
Benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network, this free rally also features a petting zoo for kids, beer tent for the thirsty and craft vendors for the shoppers.

Artstreet.imageARTSTREET, Green Bay, August 28-30
Enjoy three days of fun featuring “an eclectic mix of visual, performing, culinary and literary arts.”  Two stages of live music and dance complement street performers and 200 artist exhibits from paintings to jewelry to photography.

FestivalFlavors.imageFestival of Flavors, Eagle River, August 29-30
“Celebrate the Taste” of Wisconsin products in bite-sized portions in the tasting tent, hear live music & shop the local Farmer’s Market on Saturday.  Stop back Sunday for the “Nutrition Health & Fitness Expo” including Healthful Chef’s Demos and the Tomato Throw!

FestivalPines.logo27th Annual Festival in the Pines, Eau Claire, August 29-30
Shop hundreds of arts & crafts vendors, catch live music or a karate demonstration & send the kids to check out the free petting zoo.  Find lots of family fun in Carson Park this weekend.

And of course, before you hit the road, click on over to WisconsinLodging.info to find your perfect Place to Stay in Wisconsin!

BalloonRally photo courtesy of Wisconsin Dept of Tourism

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Did you know that there are roughly 1,600 water parks worldwide and more than 1,000 of them are here in the U.S.?

ActionMan-ChaosWaterparkWater lovers need not travel far and wide to enjoy the thrills of water slides or lazy rivers.  Wisconsin boasts dozens of indoor & outdoor water parks including the newly opened Chaos Waterpark in Eau Claire.  Attached to the Metropolis Hotel and adjacent to Action City Entertainment Center, Chaos features water slides such as Twister, Bailout, or Hurricane Run.

If you’re not headed towards Eau Claire, you’ll still find plenty of wet & wild fun at Wisconsin water parks around the state.  We’ve already shared a few Wisconsin Dells spots with you in this post, but check out some of the others as well:

The Waters of MinocquaWatersOfMinocqua
This northwoods-themed park features indoor-outdoor hot tub & pools along with water slides and kiddie pool and guests of the hotel have free access to the water park throughout their stay.  When you’re ready for some dry fun, check out the mini-golf, horseback riding or go-carts near the hotel.

LodgeAtCedarCreekLodge at Cedar Creek, Wausau
At 50,000 square feet, the Lodge at Cedar Creek in Wausau is one of the largest in northern Wisconsin.  Kids will love the anticipation of waiting to be drenched by the 800 gallon tipping bucket.  Of course, you can’t head to Wausau & not catch a Woodchucks baseball game!

TimberRidgeTimber Ridge Lodge, Lake Geneva
Families heading to the Lake Geneva area won’t want to miss the fun at this indoor/ outdoor water park with two interactive splash pools, water slides, lazy river & more. Parents can also enroll kids in the “Kids are Grand” day programs which allow grown-ups free time to enjoy the nearby Well Spa + Salon or get in a round of golf at either the Brute or Highlands courses.

BWmidwayBest Western Midway Hotel Riverfront, La Crosse
If your travels take you to the Mississippi River this summer, be sure to check out the Best Western Midway’s tropical themed, indoor water center.  Kids and adults alike will enjoy  slides, geysers, whirlpools and more!  Of course, La Crosse is also home to a Northwoods League team, the La Crosse Loggers.

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